Author Topic: Adjustable Bag Measures?  (Read 1771 times)

Offline Panzerschwein

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Adjustable Bag Measures?
« on: November 17, 2022, 03:09:54 AM »
During the period, did anyone use adjustable powder measures that could have been hung from a horn or pouch strap? Id like to load my trade gun from the pouch using a hanging powder measure as Ive always done but would like to be able to adjust the charge for load development.

Id like to source such a measure if it would be period correct. Thanks for any help and recommendations in advance.

Dillon

Offline Daryl

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Re: Adjustable Bag Measures?
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2022, 08:16:58 PM »
Except for on the Euro continent including England, adjustable measures were likely never used.
That the English Gun makers made them, is evident from remaining samples, but they were usually
a dipper-type measure.
Too, the Euro/English flasks had adjustable measures as well.


Daryl

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Offline T*O*F

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Re: Adjustable Bag Measures?
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2022, 09:16:21 PM »
Do your load development, then make a measure of that capacity to hang from your pouch.  90% of what people espouse to be period correct isn't and it's as term that is much overused.  Try attending a juried event sometime and see how you fare.
Dave Kanger

A dedicated person with just a pocketknife can accomplish more than a lazy person with an entire toolbox.

Offline RAT

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Re: Adjustable Bag Measures?
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2022, 04:49:54 AM »
I know of a painting that might show an adjustable measure. It's by William Sidney Mount and it's called "The Sportsman's Last Visit". It was painted in 1835. The measure is in a holder on the pouch strap. The gun appears to be a half stock rifle (notice the trigger guard). It could be a fowler, and the measure could be for shot. I think a "sportsman" would be more likely to have an adjustable measure than someone in the back country. But that's just my opinion.



Madison Grant has several photos of shooting pouches with adjustable measures in his book "The Kentucky Rifle Hunting Pouch". Page 192 of this book has a photo of an adjustable measure made from iron. My understanding is that iron was used originally, while modern versions are usually made from brass. I have a brass reproduction. I can't remember where I got it. I don't see them listed anyplace these days.

When people say "trade gun", my mind thinks North West trade gun. If you're going for an authentic persona, I'd avoid an adjustable measure. I think they would have been used more with rifles or fowlers. It depends on who you're trying to portray. NW trade guns were used extensively by native people. They were also used extensively throughout Canada by fur company employees. The written record is pretty consistent that in America they would have been used mostly by native people, or by ethnically French working in the fur trade in western America.

In Canada, the fur companies issued guns from the sales rack on an as-needed basis. They were returned to the sales rack as soon as they weren't needed. Very few were documented as having owned their own guns. I doubt most employees would have their own measures. The exception are officers that had their own fowlers. I could see them having an adjustable measure.

In America, those using NW trade guns were... well... poor. Both native people and French speaking trappers and company employees. Again, I doubt they would have bought an adjustable measure.

Bob

Online James Rogers

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Re: Adjustable Bag Measures?
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2022, 05:24:50 AM »
Pretty sure that's the shot head on a snake belt and not a powder measure on a bag strap.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2022, 06:10:07 AM by James Rogers »

Offline RAT

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Re: Adjustable Bag Measures?
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2022, 03:18:55 AM »
It could very well be.

But I'm still thinking it's a rifle leaning against the wall. From the gun itself, and the shadow on the wall, it appears to be an English style scroll trigger guard with grip rest. I would think it odd that a shotgun would have a rifle style scroll finial grip rest trigger guard. If it is a rifle, I would find it odd that he would be using a shot snake.
Bob

Offline Notchy Bob

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Re: Adjustable Bag Measures?
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2022, 06:24:33 AM »
Panzerschwein,

Adjustable powder measures did exist, although I don't know how far back.  This one, from Gary Hendershott's Comancheria Collection, is on the strap for a Comanche shot pouch:



I saw a very good copy of an original in a post on another muzzleloading forum a while back, but I was unable to locate it this evening.  This replica, I believe, is still in production, although I don't remember who was selling it.  Sorry... I don't take notes on everything I see and read, and now and then I wish I did!

I would agree that the owner of a trade gun would have most likely had a simple, non-adjustable measure.  Trade rifles were often issued with tubular tin powder measures.  these were described in an article in the Museum of the Fur Trade Quarterly, Vol. 12, No. 4 (1976).  Hot Dip Tin makes an excellent replica of one of these, citing that article as a reference.  They only offer these in a 55-grain capacity, which is right at two drams.  I don't know if you could talk him into making a larger one or not.  Wouldn't hurt to ask, once you are sure of the charge you want.

I have not seen a reference indicating these tin powder measures were issued with smoothbored trade guns.  However, there are a lot of native-made powder chargers in museum collections.  For starters, check out the searchable collections database for the National Museum of the American Indian.  Using "powder measure" as a search term, it pulled up 59 examples from the collection for me.

Another thing to consider as a non-adjustable powder measure would be a brass cartridge case of an appropriate early caliber of rifle.  There was a considerable period of overlap in the use of muzzleloaders (including flintlocks) and breechloaders on the western frontier.  I have seen several examples of spent .50-70 cases paired up with a powder horn, for use as a powder measure.  The brass case was frequently cut off at a slant, to make a sort of pouring spout.

That doesn't help you much if you want a period-correct adjustable measure, though.  I'll see if I can find any more about the reproduction mentioned above, but I think your best bet is to work up a load and then either make or order a traditional non-adjustable charger in the size you need, to keep with your gun.

Good luck!

Notchy Bob

ADDENDUM (Edit):  The Log Cabin Shop in Lodi, Ohio has the 19th-century styled adjustable powder measures that I was thinking of.  Click that link,and look for the "Custom Brass Powder Measure" and the "Custom Iron Powder Measure."  The brass and iron ones look about the same, except for the material, and they are the same price.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2022, 06:40:29 AM by Notchy Bob »
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Offline RAT

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Re: Adjustable Bag Measures?
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2022, 11:12:33 PM »
That Comanche rig is perfect for a NW trade gun!
Bob

Offline Cades Cove Fiddler

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Re: Adjustable Bag Measures?
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2022, 12:01:11 AM »
 ;) ;)... Brian Barker and David Rase both make similar adjustable measures like the one with the Comanche rig,......with a vintage look and excellent workmanship,.....  they are both members of this group,...regards, ... CCF

Offline RAT

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Re: Adjustable Bag Measures?
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2022, 04:56:51 AM »
Some fuzzy details from the painting I posted...







Not sure any of those help. It certainly could be a shot snake.
Bob

Offline smallpatch

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Re: Adjustable Bag Measures?
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2022, 06:27:41 AM »
Heres one by David Rase.. real special.

In His grip,

Dane

Offline mgbruch

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Re: Adjustable Bag Measures?
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2022, 01:45:00 AM »
I used to carry a pistol as well as my rifle, when reenacting.  Don't have the gun any more.  I scribed a line inside my rifles powder measure (made of antler) for the pistol charge.  Didn't work very well in the dark, but I didn't shoot and load very much in the dark.

Offline LRB

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Re: Adjustable Bag Measures?
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2023, 03:07:35 PM »
Jim Chambers also offers a very nice adjustable measure. Brass or steel.